Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/88

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for help, where help there could be none. Its echo pealing from the rocks, scared and scattered the ravening birds one instant from their lust; they wheeled and circled in the sunlit air, then settled once more on their spoil.

A single vulture, driven from the rest, poised avove him—waiting. Looking upward, he saw the bird, with its dark wings outstretched, sailing in rings round and round in the sunlight glare, impatient and athirst, its glittering eyes fixed on him—the watcher and the harbinger of death.

By the sheer force of animal instinct, strength for the moment was restored; he sprang up to drive from off him the murderous beak that would seek his life-blood, the carrion-greed that would wrench out his eyes whilst yet they saw the day! He leapt forward, striking wildly and blindly at the black shadow of the hovering bird;—at the action the wound opened, the hemorrhage broke out afresh—he fell back senseless.